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GeorgeCharlie

Review of Visits to Norway/Iceland/Greenland on Fall 2018 Cruise.

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Hi Folks,

 

Well - with our long winter nights starting to set in, I have decided to do a review of the cruise we got back from last month.

 

It was the 20-Day Viking Passage cruise on the Zuiderdam. Departing Copenhagen on August 24th, visiting Norway; Iceland; Greenland; Canada; before arriving in New York on September 13th.

 

Overall we enjoyed the cruise, especially visiting places we had not seen before. As expected, the cruise had its ups and downs (including some heavy seas) - but fortunately the ups won out over the downs.

 

The original itinerary included one stop in Norway; four in Iceland (including an overnight in Reykjavik); three in Greenland; and two in Canada.

 

A few days before we were to fly over to Copenhagen we received notice from HAL on something totally unexpected - they were adding a fifth stop in Iceland. I've had ports changed and ports deleted, but never added that close to departure.

 

They added Djupivogur in place of a sea day. We're not fans of sea days, so kind of hard to complain about it!

 

I intent to try and keep my comments related to places we visited and what we saw, rather then what happened on the ship.

 

Cheers,

Bill

 

 

 

 

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We had never been to Copenhagen before, so we flew over five days ahead of time and had a good general look at the city.

 

We stayed at the AC Bella Sky hotel, which is part of the Marriott group of hotels. The hotel is about half way between the airport and the downtown area. We're not big fans of the busier areas of a city and usually try to find a place outside the main areas, but which has good mass transport connections. 

 

The Bella Sky is at their convention centre, with a Metro station a few minutes walk away. There wasn't much to see around the hotel, but there was a major shopping centre one Metro stop away.

 

The Bella Sky hotel - kind of funky looking with weird angles and overhangs.

 

743192078_ACBellaHotel2.thumb.jpg.a3e0d33ff8a088f632d37ec1ffc7aa6d.jpg

 

View of the Metro station from the hotel.

 

322173370_Metro1.jpg.ed41056c9e5a0ec25350404f218e276e.jpg

 

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Couple more pictures taken from our hotel.

 

The bridge over to Sweden. The bridge runs nearly 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the Swedish coast to an artificial island in the middle of the strait, then goes into a tunnel for 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) to the Danish coast, not far from Copenhagen's airport. A trip from Copenhagen to the Swedish city of Malmo takes about 35 minutes by train. The bridge is the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe. We had planned on going over to see Malmo, but never got around to it. We plan on being back in Copenhagen to take another cruise on the Zuiderdam next spring - so maybe then.

 

Bridge.jpg.b04ce297b936fa1efe9091c7456c418c.jpg

 

 

Wind turbines - something which you see a lot of throughout the area.

 

543858823_WindTurbines.thumb.jpg.b0dbcca054d62ad2f2bfdc902c4ce529.jpg

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Thanks so much for doing this 🙂

 

This is going to be an interesting thread 😄 

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Thanks for this!!  We ate doing it in July!!!  Plus staying at Hilton in the exact same area!!!   We have 4 nights there!!  Saw the big shopping center and thought it may be a good place to pick up cheaper faster foods!!!  Did you go in it??

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3 hours ago, kazu said:

Thanks so much for doing this 🙂

 

This is going to be an interesting thread 😄 

And thank you for following my review - and yes we did have several "interesting" times - more on them to follow.

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2 hours ago, puppycanducruise said:

You're off to a great start.

Looking forward to reading more.

Thanks for doing this.

Thanks for following. I take it you like dogs?

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1 hour ago, sueleekey said:

Thanks for this!!  We ate doing it in July!!!  Plus staying at Hilton in the exact same area!!!   We have 4 nights there!!  Saw the big shopping center and thought it may be a good place to pick up cheaper faster foods!!!  Did you go in it??

Yes, we went over to it several times, primarily to grab a bite to eat in the evenings. We found a good mixture of restaurants and fast food outlets in their food court. The prices were reasonable (for Copenhagen).

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We are going to be on the 2019 Voyage of the Vikings and interested in your comments....following :-)

 

Picture is of Nanortalik Greenland

 

NanortalikGreenland.jpg

Edited by VacationingCharlene

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5 hours ago, VacationingCharlene said:

We are going to be on the 2019 Voyage of the Vikings and interested in your comments....following 🙂

 

Picture is of Nanortalik Greenland

 

NanortalikGreenland.jpg

Nice picture - it gives a good perspective in how the town is laid out.

 

We have a number of ground level pictures, but nothing of an aerial view.

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Still trying to get the hang of how Cruise Critics new posting system works. I get a fair ways into developing a post and then the page seems to refresh - and poof - my work has disappeared.

 

I must say it gets frustrating!!

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Anyway - now that I got my rant out of the way, I can now move on to some more productive work.

 

Getting around Copenhagen to see various sites can be quite easy when you use their mass transportation system.

 

Visitors can purchase a couple of different passes. The first one (which is what we used) is the City Pass. It allows you unlimited travel within the four most common zones. You can travel on the Metro, Train or bus to different sites and activities in Copenhagen. You can also travel on the Harbour busses to visit various venues along the canals, or you could just stay on the boat and view Copenhagen from the seaside. Although, you wouldn't get the sightseeing narrative which are part of the private canal boat tours.

 

There are a number of places which will sell you a City Pass, including 7 Eleven stores (for which there seems to be one on every corner).

 

You can also buy them online at https://dinoffentligetransport.dk/hjaelp-til-billetter/billetter-og-kort/periodebilletter/citypass-english/experience-with-city-pass/

 

We found the easiest way for us was to just go the closest Metro station and buy them there. Plus, there's usually people there who will give you help if you need it.

 

We were going to be in Copenhagen for 6 days so we purchased a 5 day pass (120 hours), which cost 300 DKK (about $45USD) each. They also have 24hr; 48hr; & 72hr passes.

 

The second pass you can buy to get around to see things is the Copenhagen Card. It combines the City Pass with free entry to most of the main sites a tourist may be interested in seeing. The thing we noticed was a lot of the places we wanted to visit where some distance from each other, which meant a lot of backtracking to the main train station in order to get a connection to the next place you wanted to see. This would result in only being able to a couple of places each day.

 

More info on the Copenhagen Card can be found at https://copenhagencard.com/

 

We decided to use the City Pass to get us into the main downtown area and then book a day tour which would allow us to travel by private van out to the four more remote major sites in one day. I'll have more info on this day tour later in this review.

Edited by GeorgeCharlie

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Following - we’re spending 3 days in Copenhagen and then will also be in Norway and Iceland so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. I already like the idea of taking the train to Sweden!

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We arrived in Copenhagen in the early afternoon of August 19. We spent the balance of the day getting settled in and relaxing around the hotel.

 

For the next three days we would hop on the Metro and go downtown (10 minute ride), find someplace for breakfast and then spend the balance of the day (and one evening) taking in the sights around the downtown area. They have done an excellent job in revitalizing the historical significance of Copenhagen and it would take weeks to even absorb a small portion of it.

 

Fortunately most of the sights in the Old City can be seen by just walking around. They have a tourist train which goes around to most of the places in the main part of the Old City. It functions on a hop-on hop-off principal, which would allow someone who has limited time to spend to at least get to see some of the sights. They also have the regular HoHo buses, which lets people get out beyond the centre core. 

 

The Train Tour.

569856256_TrainTour.thumb.jpg.151b5d77f562214a8a2a1395dbe3806c.jpg

 

This is it's stop at the City Hall square, with Tivoli Gardens in the background.

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3 minutes ago, AnnieBelle said:

Following - we’re spending 3 days in Copenhagen and then will also be in Norway and Iceland so I’m interested to hear your thoughts. I already like the idea of taking the train to Sweden!

I don't know if you done any research into taking a day trip from Copenhagen to Malmo, but Visit Copenhagen has some general information on it.

 

https://www.visitcopenhagen.com/copenhagen/quick-guide-malmo

 

If you go - make sure you take your passport.

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Of course, one the most common mode of transportation for Copenhagen's residents (and a lot of other European cities) is the bicycle. There's massive numbers of them outside most train stations. They seem to ride a bicycle from home to their nearest train station; then take the train to a station close to where they work; where they then take a bike they have left there and use it to ride to work.

 

This is one of bike storage areas outside one of the secondary train stations in downtown Copenhagen. A person wonders how anyone can find their bike in this mess? I was down there one morning during the rush of people going to work and let me tell you it looked to me to be total confusion.

 

Bicycles.jpg.e2147b3257cbfcbef9efbca420d264c8.jpg

 

Some of the trains allowed people to bring their bicycles onboard.

 

One evening when we were on our way back to the hotel, we watched a guy install a new chain on his bike. Nobody seems to give a care, so it's likely a common occurrence. 

 

865240259_Repairbicycle.jpg.c35d957b0d3478d866f1c80109260f95.jpg

 

 

You also see more versatile versions of trikes.

 

Both as people carriers

Tricycle.jpg.994ebd6d443ff14503485aa1d8320788.jpg

 

And freight carriers.

Trike.jpg.a289e9be24aa6de097643468542f90fe.jpg

 

 

Even looks like the Royal Family used them.

2027650387_RoyalTrike.thumb.jpg.4e3da2d8d45ab37affc58f0661d7d062.jpg

 

 

Edited by GeorgeCharlie

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During our visits to the downtown area we tried to get a quick look at most of the tourist sites. There's far to many to report on in this review, so I'll just touch on some of the main ones - and some that we just found interesting.

 

They are in no particular order.

 

One of the things we wanted to do was take a harbour cruise. On our first day downtown we checked into them, but when we saw how packed the boats were, we decided to take a pass.

362899703_Canalboat1a.jpg.4b747664ccaaf9d3f461730f0791362e.jpg

 

As it happened, the next day we were walking in the area much earlier in the morning (just as they were getting going for the day) and noticed the boats were much less crowded (plus they were giving early departure discounts)

 

As you can see, there was lots of room for us.

1493451321_BoatTour.thumb.jpg.046b9dcb1d9b9afab268a4c04d501537.jpg

 

The harbour tour was very interesting and we got around to see sights not easily seen from land. Well worth the price.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, sueleekey said:

What time was the early departure???

There's more then one tour boat company, but the one we took started at 09:30. Not sure how the extra discount worked, but we were waffling on whether we wanted to go, so they offered an extra discount to go on the boat which was leaving right away. The discount wouldn't apply if we wanted to book a later departure. 

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1 hour ago, jimbri said:

Great photos!

Thanks, we're not using anything special for taking pictures. I use a smartphone and Lynne uses a small Panasonic pocket camera.

 

You don't seem to see people using SLR cameras and long lenses (like this guy) that much anymore.

slr2.jpg.d5d917fbd0af673fc9ae8e750ccba60e.jpg

 

Also hope to try to link in some raw video clips I took. Something I haven't done before - so the outcome could be interesting!!

 

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